NFL players and teams have turned to Twitter to express their sorrow after learning that Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher shot his girlfriend to death before turning the gun on himself.
The 25-year-old linebacker shot Kasandra Perkins, 22, with whom he had an infant daughter, this morning before driving to Arrowhead Stadium, where he shot himself to death in front of Chiefs staff, the Kansas City Police Department said.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Chiefs and the families and friends of those who lost their lives in this terrible tragedy," the NFL said in a statement that was also shared on Twitter. "We have connected the Chiefs with our national team of professional counselors to support both the team and the families of those affected. We will continue to provide assistance in any way that we can."
After early debate about whether the Chiefs should play the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, the league announced on Twitter that the teams would play as scheduled.
"After discussions between the league office, Head Coach Romeo Crennel, and Chiefs team captains, the Chiefs advised the NFL that the team will play tomorrow's game vs. the Carolina Panthers at the originally scheduled time," the NFL said in a series of tweets.
Statement from Chiefs: "After discussions between the league office, Head Coach Romeo Crennel and Chiefs team captains, the Chiefs advised..— NFL: AroundTheLeague (@NFL_ATL) December 1, 2012
(Chiefs Statement pt 2) "the NFL that it will play tomorrow's game vs. the Carolina Panthers at its originally scheduled time."— NFL: AroundTheLeague (@NFL_ATL) December 1, 2012
Like many NFL players, Belcher's teammates turned to Twitter to express their shock and offer condolences.
Fellow Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali:
I am devastated by this morning's events. I want to send my thoughts and prayers out to everyone affected by this tragedy.— Tamba Hali (@TambaHali91) December 1, 2012
Chiefs offensive tackle David Mims:
This just doesn't seem real...praying for 59 and his family— David Mims (@D_Mims70) December 1, 2012
Chiefs safety Kendrick Lewis:
Forever in our heart! Love you bro. May God be with both families! Thoughts and Prayers go up.— Kendrick Lewis (@klewis23) December 1, 2012
Players for other teams also lent their support.
New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow:
Wow... Unbelievable tragedy. My prayers go out to the entire Chiefs organization and their families.— Tim Tebow (@TimTebow) December 1, 2012
Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith, who has been dealing with the recent death of his younger brother, offered prayers and perspective:
Prayers up for the Chiefs and the families that were affected— Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) December 1, 2012
Life is wayyyy bigger than football...people forget that at times...respect their situation and pray for them— Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) December 1, 2012
Former NFL wide receiver Chad Johnson wanted to be sure Perkins was not forgotten in the outpouring of support: